Manipulating the 3D organization of the largest synthetic yeast chromosome
Whether synthetic genomes can power life has attracted broad interest in the synthetic biology field. Here we report de novo synthesis of the largest eukaryotic chromosome thus far, synIV, a 1,454,621-bp yeast chromosome resulting from extensive genome streamlining and modification. We developed megachunk-assembly combined with a hierarchical integration strategy, which significantly increased the accuracy and flexibility of synthetic chromosome construction. Besides the drastic sequence changes, we further manipulated the 3D structure of it to explore spatial gene regulation. Surprisingly, we found few gene expression changes, suggesting that positioning inside the yeast nucleoplasm plays a minor role in gene regulation. Lastly, we tethered synIV to the inner nuclear membrane via its hundreds of loxPsym sites and observed transcriptional repression of the entire chromosome, demonstrating chromosome-wide transcription manipulation without changing the DNA sequences. Our manipulation of the spatial structure of synIV shed light on higher-order architectural design of the synthetic genomes.